Those that know me well, and I mean very well, know that I’m always eating. I have a passion for food that is serious and unparalleled. Here are a bunch of pictures of me… just… eating…
I promised myself I wouldn’t get sad today, and I was doing really well since I was so busy traveling for work. I woke up, rushed to SFO, connected to another flight in Dallas, and practically collapsed by the time I made it to my hotel here in NYC. There has been no time to get sad today, but the same lingering thought that occupied my mind twelve hours and 2,905 miles ago is stronger than ever: Today is Mother’s Day.
Although I’ve made it across the country, I can’t escape the fact that it’s Mother’s Day. It’s all over Instagram, Facebook, WordPress, the streets, television, etc. All of my friends are having brunch or dinner with their moms. All the moms are getting sweet little hand drawn cards from their kids. Everyone is just so happy and cute with their mom, and I’m just here… trying to listen to you listening to me.
I know you’re out there or up there somewhere watching over me and my brothers and sisters. And I know sometimes, if I try really, really hard or if I’m quiet enough and close my eyes I can feel you. I can smell your perfume. I can hear your laugh. I can feel you loving me.
And I’m not mad at all those girls being happy with their moms, I envy them because it hurts. I miss you. I needed more time with you. I need more time. I’m sorry for all the times I made you angry and made things difficult for you. I’m sorry for any time you felt unloved or alone because we always loved you, but we were so young. I wish you never had to feel the pain from your cancer or that you had to lose your hair or your breast. I wish it could have been me to fight your illness instead of you.
I know it’s getting late, and you might be sleeping now because I definitely should, but if you can hear me I just want you to know how thankful I am that you’re my mother. Your beauty emanates from the kindness in your soul and the strength of your heart. I hope I grow up and become just like you. I’m incredibly proud and blessed to be your daughter.
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”
“Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape”
“C’est la vie”
As many of you know, I got my full-time offer with Google last year and was scheduled to start working full-time at the Google headquarters in Mountain View, California in September 2013. So when I graduated from the University this past December, I embarked on an amazing trip around Southeast Asia. When that ended, I made plans to work in a winery in Spain until June (My little brother’s high school graduation is on June 6, so I wanted to go back to America for that). And my dad who’s incredibly smart and supportive helped me schedule my flight to Spain and talked to the airline so that I could make stops in both London and Paris on my way to Spain without paying virtually anything more!
So at the moment, I’m writing to you from Paris. I haven’t been able to write or post in awhile, but I’ve just been busy living so much life. There’s too many things to eat and too many people to meet. However, I do have a very important update for you. The fork in my road has taken a very interesting turn. Last week while I was in London, I was notified that some things about my full-time position at Google have changed: I start work April 15 in San Francisco.
That’s correct. That’s approximately 15 days from right now… and I’m in Paris. I haven’t even been to Spain yet. The past couple days have been a whirlwind of confusion and excitement: I had to cancel my Spain wine internship, one of my friends volunteered to drive me to California, and my dad had to call the airlines (again) and get me a flight back to America ASAP.
So earlier today while on the metro somewhere in Paris, I’ve been trying to process some of the things that have happened to me lately or what’s in store for me in the future, and it occurred to me that none of the plans I’ve ever made for myself have actually ever happened. I always planned to be a doctor when I younger, but I majored in business. The college I went to surprised me and my family. I never got into advertising even though I desperately tried. Finally, I would never had imagined I’d work and live in New York and San Francisco within the same year. Next week, I won’t be in Spain as anticipated but on an epic road trip from Chicago to California. I suppose the only thing that actually worked out the way I had planned was graduating college in 3.5 years.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed when we begin to realize the little control we may have in the plans we have for ourselves, but Life is an adventure… and it can be beautiful. We may not have control in exactly how life unfolds itself, but we do have the control on how we see and react to the things that happen to us. Also, I think that the ambiguity and possibilities of what can happen are all part of the beauty in life. Life can be an adventure and it can be absolutely beautiful, but only if we choose it to be.
I know this post isn’t quite about Paris or London… stay tuned for more specifics about British or French food and sights, but I hope this helped you with whatever life has thrown at you recently.
After my “Taking Asia 2013″ trip with my friend and fellow foodie, Mary, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to explore the culinary scene here in Manila, Philippines. Of course after 4.5 weeks of backpacking through Asia (Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, and China), it’s nice to return to a familiar city with familiar faces for some much needed R&R. And fortunately, as a result of its rich historical and cultural background, Manila has many interesting food spots that are worth the infamous Manila traffic.
The theme for today’s post is the connection between food and family. Obviously, while food is a means for nutrition and fuel for the body, it is without a doubt a social activity, many times a tradition, that creates or continues relationships, celebrates events, and comforts the soul. Personally, my family catches up on the week’s activities during our weekly Sunday breakfast/brunch (it usually starts around 8am and last until Noon or when we need to go to church). It’s a nice and comforting tradition: you’d wake up to the smell of coffee or the sound of someone cooking, you’d go to the kitchen finding everyone at the table loaded with food, and you’d sit at said table for hours after said food is gone just to talk while dipping pandesal in cofffee. Many times, I find that the largest concern during these breakfasts with my family (which usually includes my dad, sister, two brothers, and two uncles) is the dangers of laughing with your mouth full of food. You never know what joke someone will tell or absurd thing someone will do. For example, one time my younger brother, Leonard, accidentally knocked over a liter of soda while getting me coffee making it explode on the floor, shooting the ceiling, and staining the whole kitchen and dining room. It was like a Coca-Cola massacre. Other times, my other brother and sister initiate hilarious quarrels that really prevent you from eating and risking spitting your food at your dad across from you. I know that not many families have the opportunity to get together for a meal, so I feel incredibly blessed to have these times with my family and would definitely encourage others to try to establish a weekly meal with their loved ones. I think that my love for food is definitely connected to the love I have for my family.
With that said, there are two great food spots in Manila that I recently visited and deserve recognition for the “love for the family” that their food emulates. While the following places do not serve Filipino food exactly, their food has both commendable tastes and evident love that fit with Filipino traditions.
Notes: TTK instantly came to mind when I was preparing to write this post because the Singaporean owner named the restaurant in honor of his daughter. Franco, originally from Singapore, is co-owner of TTK and the head chef. Everything that comes of the kitchen and lands on your table is pretty much Franco’s creation. During my visit the restaurant was bombarded with takeout orders, so it took a little while for my two dishes. However, I think that TTK is worth the wait and the average service. From a girl who loves street food and Michelin star restaurants, TTK offers simple great Singaporean food in Manila at a low cost and with minimal frills. If you’re very familiar with Singaporean food, you should be aware that the food is altered just a little bit to mediate a lack of resources in the Philippines necessary for Singaporean cooking, but you can be assured that there are no big changes that compromise the dignity of the cuisine.
To be honest, I have to say that the Hainanese Chicken I ate at TTK was better than the Hainanese Chicken I ate in Singapore. Although Anthony Bourdain recommended the Hainanese Chicken that I sampled in Singapore in Maxwell Street, I realize it may not be the best version of the dish in all of Singapore. Also, while I’ve learned that Hainanese chicken is a very accessible dish all throughout Asia, it can largely depend on your preference and tastes. Originally from China, Hainanese chicken is a staple dish in Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand. While it is difficult for me to say or judge the simple but traditional taste of this dish, I can promise that the Hainanese Chicken at TTK’s is delicious and authentic. Hainanese Chicken rice is the national dish of Singapore, and I admire it’s simplicity. In terms of preparation, the whole chicken is boiled in stock or water with generous ginger and garlic until the meat is cooked thoroughly. Most of the chicken skin and fat is kept on the meat, so this dish can be a surprising sight at first to many Americans who may be used to their chicken roasted or fried – the chicken (with the skin still on) will look very pale and even white. However, I highly recommend trying this dish because, as you can imagine, this unique cooking method promises very juicy and flavorful chicken. Finally, in Singaporean Hainanese chicken, the remaining stock is often used in the preparation for the rice.
Place: Sophie’s Mom Bakery
Location: 8760 Santol Street, San Antonio Village, Makati
Order: Spanish style bread and Nutella Truffle Mochi Ice Cream
Food notes: So during my first visit, I only ordered the Spanish bread, but I knew that Sophie’s Mom is a very special bakery. So a little story that I heard through the grapevine about the name before the establishment existed, the owner originally made mochi ice cream desserts for her daughters and daughters’ friends. The little treat became a hit, and one of the daughters, Sophie, started receiving requests or orders from her friends for more of her mom’s treats. Thus Sophie’s Mom started.
On my first visit, I ordered the Spanish bread which has a sweet pastilla-like filling. When I say pastilla I don’t mean the Moroccan meat pie, but this sweet milk-sugar mixture similar to dulce de leche as a result of our Spanish influence. The Spanish bread is very soft and resembles a pandesal, but has a great surprise inside when you bite into it and find the sweet pastilla. It’s great paired with coffee.
Put simply, share the food and share the love. Do you have a story about how food connects you and your family? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear it!
In the very beginning, or at least around October 2012 when I had decided to begin blogging about the food and culture from my travels, I encountered one of the greatest challenges every blogger inevitably must face: What should I title my blog?
After long brainstorm sessions, numerous conversations with family members and friends, and lots of research, I had a good and solid list of potential blog titles. Of those included:
“Little Girl, Big Mouth” (although I thought that this could be misconstrued)
“The World on My Plate” (this WordPress site www.theworldonmyplate.com already exists)
“Chopsticks and Sandals” (too geographically limiting)
“Delicious Diaries” (Too 3rd grade)
“Scrumptious Stories” (Too 4th grade)
“Treks and Treats” (Too 5th grade)
“The Pursuit of Tastiness” (Already exists)
“The Pursuit of Deliciousness” (Deliciousness sounds too strange)
Although my blog would have a focus on food, I also wanted to capture more in my travels. I wanted to capture the stories of a culture, the heart of the people, and the beauty of living life to its fullest. I wanted my blog title to capture this, so I wanted to title it “The Pursuit of Everything.”
But after a very quick Google search (it’s interesting how quickly Google can make you happy or sad), I found that “The Pursuit of Everything” was already taken. Curious, I clicked on the site and I was led to an inspirational blog and a delusional man, AJ Leon, who calls himself a misfit.
Similar to me he’s nomading around the world, blogging about his travels, and has great hair that is occasionally tied back when it’s time to get serious. But more importantly, AJ and I believe in living with intention and contributing something positive to this world before it’s our time to kick the bucket. Obviously, this is not a post about food or culture, but I wanted to pass this story on to you because I think you have a lot in common with me and AJ. I also feel like AJ’s story will help you accomplish your dreams, whatever they may be, and I did just write a post on dreams. It’s an understatement to say that AJ’s journey and writing is inspiring, but I don’t know how else to quite say it. So here’s a word from AJ:
My name is AJ. I used to be an unremarkably average financial executive in Manhattan. I made six figures, had an outrageous bonus and a corner office…. On December 31, 2007, I left my six figure, crazy bonus, Manhattan corner office job. Not for a raise. Not in a vertical move to another company. Not to get a change of scene. But to stop, once and for all, living some other dude’s life. That day I realized two things. There was more to life than working a job you hate, and more importantly, there was more to me than could ever be expressed in a place with so many rules. If you read this paragraph and have no idea what I’m talking about, you should probably not bother going further, but for the rest of you, this book is an ode to the misfits.
You see, I believe that you, like me, were not meant to live a life of convention and conformity. I believe that you were put here, at this very moment, to change the world in a fashion that only you can. These essays were written while on my own path to doing just that. And I hope beyond hope that they will in some small way help you to find yours.
While AJ is traveling/blogging the world in 1080 days, running his company Misfit, Inc., getting kids in Tanzania on Twitter, helping villages in Kenya, raising money for schools in South Sudan, he is also launching his first book, “The Life and Times of a Remarkable Misfit,” but he does need some help. If you think you’re a misfit, are curious about his guy, or you are still reading, CLICK HERE.
I’m sad that I couldn’t own www.pursuitofeverything.com because AJ beat me to it, but I’m happy that in the search for the perfect blog title I found a fellow misfit, dreamer, and friend. I hope you’ll enjoy AJ’s story or pass it on. After all, the only people who’ve actually succeeded in changing the world were all misfits.
I also like to think they were simultaneous foodies.
As always, stay hungry,
This gallery contains 13 photos.
On February 6, our last day in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, Mary and I took a cooking class at the Vietnam Cookery Center. Established in 1999, the Vietnam Cookery Center is the first professional Cookery Center in Vietnam, teaching Vietnamese gastronomy to Tourists and other professional visitors from all over the world. The class started …